“Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars” Nathalia Holt
It’s inspiring and mind-blowing to read about all these women who crunched the numbers, plotted rocket trajectories and tested rocket designs to finally become one of the first computer code writers. It makes me smile broadly and want to high-five the invisible hand of our old friend Irony, while thinking about the laboratory, where since 50’s the policy was to hire only female.
As much as I found the American space exploration and female computers that played significant part in the process fascinating, I am rather mildly interested in JPL’s ladies giggles, outfits, love stories etc… I understand though, that there are still people out there in XXI century that require explanation and proof that being a female/wife/mother and scientist/mathematician is not mutually exclusive. Moreover, it is physically and mentally possible to want to pursue the role of both and succeed in it. I know, how wild is that. And there happened to be man (rare, exceptional cases, but still), husbands to be precise, who supported that – in 50’s and 60’s!
So, even though I really didn’t need all those “girly stories” in between, I appreciate where the author is coming from and I see her point in documenting the lives of women, who were not only pioneers in their profession, but also in their personal lives. The “rocket girls” worked outside of the home when only 20 percent of women did so, had children and returned to work, went through divorce when it was first becoming socially accepted, and witnessed the first wave of feminism, not to mention other social revolutions in the decades that spanned their careers.
In short, we need more stories like this, the stories about the real “girl power”.